4th memorial! SAMUEL ADELAKUN ADETUTU: Greatest teacher of his generation – brilliant writer, poet, orator
By Femi OGUNLANA
Chief Samuel Adelakun Adetutu was a great educationist from Ogbomoso, who died on July 4, 2019 and buried on September 7, 2n019, after a funeral service at First Baptist Church, Okelerin. This piece, originally titled, “Farewell! Greatest teacher of his generation – S.A. ADETUTU, Brilliant, as a writer, as a poet, as an orator,” which was first published in the print version at his funeral, is being reproduced to mark 4 years of his passage.
A super teacher, a fervent apostle of the ‘chalk and talk’ profession, one of the keenest and versatile minds that ever answered to the call of formal teaching, who was wronged for the sake of the profession yet knew no wrong; an outstanding figure in the history of knowledge impartation, an arbiter of learning and who set before himself the ideals of consistency and perfection. Gifted as a writer, his style abounded with elegance, ease and sweetness, magnificence and warmth, brilliance and profundity, intelligence, passion and poetry; he was the poet whose expressive appeal is unsurpassed, his pen was never idle, ad infinitum it drilled with poems. Added to that is his gift of oratory, he held his listeners spellbound, his speeches swayed people, inspiringly gushed with zeal, power and truth, simplifying, in measured tone, singeing to the guilty, soothing to the guiltless. In administration, his attainment set a standard and gave inspirations to the subsequent ages. He rose with aplomb to the peak of his chosen career, where he stood alone as decision maker to chart the path to follow, none has matched his accomplishments in his line of work, in all he dazzled by his genius. That gives you the picture of Samuel Adelakun Adetutu, the finest and rarest figure that ever trod the sphere of the teaching profession in his generation. Many Parent-Teacher Association-employed teachers secured full appointment under him, whatever advantage he had he deployed for the benefit of others. This man of erudition with a tall frame and straight gait was the greatest teacher of his age, feared and adored.
The students at the sound of the bell fly off the field where they are working on their portions, ebulliently trooping to the assembly ground for the day’s devotion. They love everything about the assembly’s proceedings, from the singing of the national anthem to the recitation of the national pledge, to the choruses and dances, to the stern but heartening speeches often given off extempore, the taking of attendance and to the cute marching to their classrooms amid hilarious singings. On this day too, they hop in ecstasy to the assembly ground. However, standing tall, with poise and exuding an air of self-assurance before them is a man many of them had never seen. He is their new principal. They wait with bated breath as the man is introduced as Mr. Samuel Adelakun Adetutu. He soon takes the floor, his comforting voice and his speechifying endearing, it soothes them, their hope is – this is going to be an era of greatness. The man looks great but intrepid, affable but with a no-nonsense mien. As his tenure unfolds the students and teachers alike found him a man of intellect, a connoisseur in the use of language. His firmness and sternness, assiduity and determination later propelled this citadel of learning, five years into his time in the school – Adeniran Memorial Grammar School (AMGS), Ogbomoso, into notching a monumental feat of emerging as the third best school in Nigeria and first in old Oyo state in the West African School Certificate Examination for the year 1988. His deeds and accomplishments in this school as in the other schools he headed form riveting episodes in the lives of these schools.
Samuel Adetutu was born in Kumasi Ghana, Ashanti Region though of Fedegbo, Ogbomoso stock on March 13, 1941, the third child and second son of a trader, Dn. James Aremu Adetutu who amassed some fortune in the then Gold Coast. His mother, Abigail Olalonpe of Awokunle compound in Isale Ora, Ogbomoso, was also a trader. He bore tribal marks however he was not supposed to be a carrier of this laceration. His acquiring one was as interesting as daring. Being born in Ghana his parents had no thought of appending one on his rotund face. But they were brought home to Ogbomoso when they were very young to have a feel of their origin, and some people in the large family compound “conspired” to dot the faces of the young Samuel and his immediate younger brother with the tribal marks, their elder brother on his own escaped from the engravers of the marks. So, they were the only two of seven siblings with tribal marks. In the interim, he had a blissful upbringing until he was halved-orphan upon the passing away of his father when he was some fifteen years old. The old man slipped in the bathroom and that was all.
The Fedegbo people in Osupa and Isale-Afon, Ogbomoso are renowned for cloths weaving. It was from this tasking activity that the name Fedegbo i.e. Fi-edo-gbo (weave with liver) in reference to the strain effect on the human entrails (liver in particular) as the wool is interlaced with one another, evolved. The Fedegbo in the olden days, were neither warriors nor hunters, their interest solely lay in cloths weaving, the vestige of which dots Fedegbo area today.
Adetutu was forged in an environment brimming with happiness and contentment, a typical Christian home, his father being a deacon. His father’s trading activities ensured the family was relatively buoyant and so, their basic needs were easily met. However, this smooth sail ceased upon the transition of his father to the great beyond. His upbringing thus rested largely on his mother with some of his uncles contributing trickles. He recalled in an interview with Ogbomoso Insight (The Insight) in September 2003, “He (his father) died when I was just about fifteen years old, so the bulk of bringing me up fell on the shoulders of my mother and my uncles and I think all of them especially my mother contributed a lot to what I had now become.” He recollected that his mother sold a lot of her jewelries to ensure he started secondary school.
In spite of the love pervading their home it did not imply that he was raised in a slipshod manner in which he and his siblings had carte blanche to do whatever they liked. Rather, the environment was strict, firm and redolent with discipline. A little dismeanour attracted a commensurate reprimand. At some point he was made to take up residence with their Baptist church pastors in Kumasi. He first lived under the care of Rev’d Sanyaolu and then Rev’d Oyekan (both of blessed memory). Adetutu said of the experience, “…and you know what life is when you are in the mission house, you have to wake up very early, do your morning chores and of course attend to spiritual needs like praying. So, we were brought up strictly through the narrow way. We attended all functions in the church – prayer meetings, Sunday school Bible training, morning and evening church services. All church activities were compulsory and woe betides anybody who failed to comply.”
Moreover, he had no hiding place since he carried the tag of “son of a deacon,” a senior deacon in the church for that matter. He abided strictly by the set of rules extant in the mission house. It was no punishment to him although, far from it, rather it built in him high moral standards which found lies and deceits repugnant later in life. In all the relationships he would forge later in life, this character of truthfulness marked them, as much as possible, he stood on the side of truth, his creed became “tell the truth and shame the devil.”
He said of this period in his life, “And I must admit that these had a powerful influence on my life because since we were made to do all these things, it meant we had to do a lot of scripture readings, and imbibing some of the disciplinary measures that the Bible recommends for the upbringing of a child. It also helped us in our education because we had to commit to memory verses in the Bible and this sharpened to the highest peak, high retentive memory. So, I had an upbringing that was not different from the upbringing at the time. I had strict parental control and this impacted positively on me.”
From this time, he began to show precocious talents and brilliance by which he came to be associated with in later life. “When I was young,” he began in that historical interview with Ogbomoso Insight in September 2003, “people still tell me I was a little bit brilliant because I used to represent my church at functions that involved reciting verses from the Bible, what we now call sword drill. And I think I gave a good credit of myself.”
Continuing he said, “And of course, when you live in the mission house at that time you tended to be religious and because of the age during which it took place when we were very young and impressionistic. Many of the stories we read in the Bible had great positive effect.
“So, I can say with assurance that my early childhood has had a very good effect on my existence as an adult, because of that, with all humility, I care a lot for other people and the suffering of other people affects me, and whatever I am now in terms of sentiments and emotion, was sealed when I was young.”
The general belief in those days regarding the young Samuel was the he was primed for ministerial work in the vineyard of God; this was in view of his radiance and devotion to spiritual activities. However, his guardian, Rev’d Oyekan had other intention for him which was at variance with plunging headlong into ministerial work. He insisted that he acquires formal education up to the highest level. On his part he was comfortable with being a clergyman, being goaded by the lessons learnt from the Bible, in fact, his namesake in the Bible fascinated him to no end and on many nights he dreamed of emulating this great prophet of God. But a young man’s ambition is fickle most times as the pliable youths are swayed to many fancies. In this wise, he later developed interest in being a medical doctor, meanwhile, since he attended a school that did not offer science subjects he had to chuck out a future in hospitals stuck to stethoscope. In the long run, he did a coalescing of his dreams and narrowed it down to turning out to be someone who would stand in a position to be able to help a lot of people. Yet, he had hope that he would someday work for God in the capacity of a pastor but this never was.
The journey to realizing his goal started in earnest when he was enrolled at Kumasi Baptist Church Primary School. Upon rounding off, he proceeded to St. John’s Grammar School, Kotobaabi in Accra, where he completed his education with flying colors in 1960. He had found himself attracted to languages and literatures guided by his abilities moreover the school did not offer science subjects. This period of his life was significant in that the foundation of his greatness was laid during this time. His wife, Mama Juliana Oyenike Adisa (nee Ojeleye) recalled that Samuel Adetutu once told him how he came to be a wordsmith. According to her when her husband was a young man, he lived on dictionaries. He would read dictionaries like novels mastering new words, digesting everything until they became ingrained in him. He read everything he could lay his hand on – newspapers, novels, everything and this was a fancy he never ditched; till his last days he was a voracious reader. He was also famed for his “photographic memory,” which was aided by the school’s language lab equipped with gadgets to develop your level of memory. One of the highpoints of his life was his mastery of English grammar and the flowery way he delivered it laced with gripping vocabularies. He was a compulsive speaker of the language and his power of delivery, charming, that he was regarded as one of the true orators. He aligned with truthfulness and this rare quality combined with his gift of rhetoric and large range of expressions made him a man people were enchanted to listen to. This as we would see shortly formed the ladder to the greatness he later achieved. In truth, his success story was majorly down to hard work and the gifts embedded in him more than luck.
Following the completion of his secondary education at St. John’s Grammar School, he vigorously sought and gained admission to the University College of Cape Coast, which was then affiliated to the University of Lagon. At the university he studied English “but I didn’t start with English. When I was in the secondary school, I decided very early that I will be a linguist because the school I attended was not science-oriented, so, I did almost all languages in secondary school. I did Latin, I did Greek, I did French and this had serious effect on me in the choice of course. You know anybody who reads Latin is bound to have interest in English language because most of these English words are derivatives of Latin words and French words.
“The course I did in the secondary school affected the choice of course when I got to the tertiary institution. I read economics, I read French, History and of course English, eventually, that would be a good pedestal to achieve my aim in life,” he told The Insight in 2003.
Meanwhile, University College of Cape Coast (now University of Cape Coast) is a wonderful citadel of learning where great individuals are being hewn. It was grace that Adetutu attended such a great place as it had profound effect positively in his future endeavours. He became a past master in his field his own efforts and talents bearing well on how he turned out. He belonged to the class of those men who are multilingual or polyglot, as he could speak Yoruba, and conveniently as many as three Ghanaian native languages including Twi, Fanti, Ghan as well as Hausa which was also spoken in Ghana. And he spoke a smattering of French. “So you see that from the very beginning I was someone interested in languages. No wonder, I ended up reading English language in the university.”
One feature of this period in his life as it pertains to his educational attainment was his acquisition of scholarship. The proprietor of St. John’s Grammar School, a Chief J.E. Mensah granted him scholarship from the second year just as he loaned him money to complete his university education. It was one of the lucks that could be attributed to his life even though his academic brilliance too played a significant role in securing the privilege. Thus, after graduation from the university in 1966, though he obtained a scholarship to the United Kingdom for post-graduate studies right after, he declined the scholarship so he could stay home and work to help his family. He was obligated to return to his alma mater to take up teaching profession. An upright man who also had integrity as forte, he did not think twice before fulfilling his mandate. He affirmed people were surprised that he would “stoop that low” to plunge into teaching. But to him, a promise is to be kept and fulfilled.
A fulfilled teacher
In the meantime, he had grown fond of teaching as he considered it sufficient as meeting his aspiration. Adetutu lived by principle; he was not one to be swayed by the breeze of indecision. The moment he made up his mind to follow the path of teaching he became fixated and was borne forward to explore its potentials to the fullest. “Eventually, I felt well, if I found myself in a position where I would be able to help others, I would have achieved my dream and this is what has really happened because I ended up a teacher and you know a teacher is somebody who disseminates knowledge, a teacher is somebody who deals with society in all ramifications, so one is able to help others. You get problems brought before you and as much as possible you try to resolve those problems.
“Furthermore, as a teacher you become the conscience of the nation because it is what a teacher teaches those under him that they make use of in the future. So, if you are a teacher and you are a bad teacher and you teach rubbish, definitely the children will not end up being useful in future.” That is his definition of a teacher which guided him all through the 39 years he acted as a purveyor of knowledge. When he rose to position of administration, he acted according to the dictates of this definition, if he had to he became stern to his subordinates, which many failed to understand, as many who worked under him initially held the notion that his hands were heavy on them. Many however have come to understand him and are among those heaping gratitude on him today for being a forthright leader.
In the meantime, he met his future wife while in the university, then Miss Juliana Oyenike Adisa-Ojeleye of Jagun Alaasa compound, Ogbomoso, it was a union made in heaven. Their courtship lasted six years before the relationship was consummated in 1971 in Nigeria. The union is blessed with equally achievers today.
He lasted 39 years in the profession during which he attained fame beyond what the mind could comprehend. He became renowned as “Principal Adetutu.” As stated he flew off at his alma mater, St. John’s Grammar School in appreciation of the input of his then principal to his academic attainment. In this school he taught for nine years; he honed his skills and grew in the best tradition of the profession. He quickly came into his own and by the time he left the school in 1975, he had been forged in the crucible of competency. His leaving the school and ultimately Ghana, revealed another part of his fine character. He was doing excellently in this school, learning the ropes with an air of cool headedness and open mindedness but one thing he found objectionable was the prejudice he suffered for not being a Ghanaian national. His juniors were being churned out as his bosses. A person of Adetutu’s nature would not tolerate such for a long time and thus, he took leave of everything Ghanaian and headed back to his country.
Dn. Laosebikan of Baptist College Iwo fame, who was an uncle to him, brought him to the celebrated institution as a tutor. He settled in quickly with people beginning to marvel at his brilliance and depth his knowledge and mastery in English. No wonder, a year later in 1976, he was appointed a principal without serving as vice principal, at the Cherubim and Seraphim Grammar School in Ilesha. This was the beginning of the greatness he would attain in the profession that makes him eligible to vie for GOAT in teaching in Ogbomoso zone, to be conservative but unarguably he is the greatest teacher of his generation. When the panache he brought to the profession is taken cognizance of, his mastery of English language, the success stories that followed him to the schools he headed, the offices he occupied and the charm he held to political leaders to put him in positions so he could bring his expertise to bear, and positively influence education policies, then no one will be in doubt that he had an image that towered high and stood shoulders to shoulders with the greatest in the profession. Indeed, the schools he headed when he fully came into his own, at his prime easily soared ahead of their equals. As far as teaching profession is concerned in Ogbomoso from about 1983 when he assumed the principalship of Adeniran Memorial Grammar School (AMGS), he became the most prominent figure in the education circle. He administered schools with strong arms in velvet gloves, like a “benevolent dictator”, he demanded his subordinates to key into the path of reason and rules while making sure to cater for their welfare. The schools he headed were swiftly transformed into something else in the positive albeit.
From Ilesa, he was posted to Ogbomoso High School. His star continued in the ascendancy but politics conspired with insensibilities associated with most Nigerian politicians and so on a day in 1979, he received a summon and was reposted to Ipetu Jesa Grammar School, Ipetu Jesa in the present Osun state. His sin: his students allegedly jeered at a passing politician, during the heady days of the Second Republic, the school being on the Trunk A road that meanders through Ogbomoso!
But at his new station, he did not diminish as his traducers would have thought. His brilliance shone further like the northern star and he won more admirers as is reflected in a comment by a veteran journalist Dapo Falade in reaction to a post by Mr. Adewuyi Adegbite, a columnist with The Insight on the passing of the former principal. He had written, “I knew him closely as the principal of Ipetu Ijesa Grammar School (adjacent to my own secondary school), Ipetu Ijesa, now in Osun state between 1979 and 1984. He was a strict disciplinarian who enforced discipline beyond his own territory to my school, in collaboration with my then school principal, Mr. J.A. Awe from Ilesa, an equally disciplinarian who died last year. I’m sure the duo must have met in the great beyond by now. Adieu a great teacher.”
But by 1983 (not 1984) he was returned to Ogbomoso to assume duty at AMGS. Here, vintage S.A. Adetutu was unraveled. He held the school firmly and with purpose. He dazzled all with his enthralling (Ghanaian) Queen English and he set out to improve the young malleable children that often stared at him dazed on the assembly ground every morning. He swung into the habit of pronouncing English words on the assembly ground which he demanded meanings to. This became a ritual and the students looked forward to the enriching ritual every morning. This writer who was his student in those interesting days particularly loved the sessions and was a passionate partaker. My little proficiency in English today was stimulated by the many efforts of Principal Adetutu. I often recall an incident when I was in Form five. We shared a block with this inimitable administrator and our classroom (5A) was next to his office. I was standing by a window that afternoon near his office, a classmate was busy rummaging my locker, I was uncomfortable and so, I asked, affixed by the window, evincing an air of assurance of precision of my spoken English, “What are you want in my locker?” Baba Adetutu gracefully glided out of his office to call my attention to my flawed expression. He retorted, in his characteristic unhurried but penetrating tenor, “Your expression is off beam, you don’t say, ‘what are you want in my locker’ but ‘what do you want in my locker?’” He took time to explain other variants in which one could make the expression. That incident has stuck in my mind ever since and is always an inspiration to me. He went extra length at great strain to develop his students towards reaching their potentials. That was his creed. He many times taught English language and literature-in-English despite his station as principal.
He lived by the standard of candour in the best tradition of the Ghana people, ambiguity was not part of his moral fibre. All through his life in Nigeria he found unacceptable people’s attitude of insincerity. He noted, “When I came to Nigeria I discovered people wouldn’t speak out their mind. They will tell you, look at this man from Ghana, he says whatever comes to his mind, he doesn’t know that in Nigeria, double speak is the practice, if you want to do something you keep it within you. There is something common with those of us trained in Ghana, we speak the truth and shame the devil.” He constantly had problems with Nigerians on this note but he never bent to this warped existence. He worked hard towards achieving his dream of living comfortably, to be able to assist people and most importantly “to make sure that the sufferings and hard time l passed through are not duplicated in the education of my children.” He lived to put smiles on the face of the people as much as he could.
The greatest achievement he meanwhile notched at AMGS came in 1988 when the school came third in that year WAEC result throughout Nigeria. Incidentally, the 1983-1988 set was the first set he trained from the then Form One. That was something, a feat never equaled in Ogbomoso which opened the gate of awards and lifted his image to be larger than life. As a starter the school was given a cash award of N33, 000. He maintained: “I am somebody that believes in perfection that you have to work hard at whatever position you found yourself. As a teacher I did my best to impart knowledge. As a principal I did ensure that everybody in the school, society, parents, teachers, the children were given the best treatment that would allow them to achieve all their potentials. So, God crowned many of my efforts with success.”
From AMGS he was redeployed to Ogbomoso Baptist High School (OBHS). Nevertheless, it must be asserted that since leaving AMGS, without aiming to discredit his successors the school’s star has been going down, it has never reached the level the matchless Adetutu took it. His time at OBHS also was synonymous with success. The school in no time assumed the prima facie and became the number one destination of students. “And when I was at Baptist High School also, the same thing, in fact all the schools I had worked. I am not sounding my own trumpet, I endeavoured to ensure that there was discipline and I was committed to my work.” He was no doubt a strong character, who drove all under him to play by the rules without ever caring whose ox was gored. He was feared by his subordinates and students alike. You either adhere to the best practice or fall out with him, he wouldn’t pamper anyone. Teachers had defied him openly, students called his bluff but he surmounted all the challenges. In those days at OBHS, his presence was so cherished but as well scary especially if you are deficient in your duty. His Peugeot 504 car indicated terror to teachers and students. Teachers who absconded from school if they sighted his car anywhere in the metropolis would in fright jump into hiding. If his car appeared at the school’s entrance in the morning, staff who were just taking a stroll into the school compound would step up their pace while some would virtually burst into actual running to reach the statutory time book ahead of him because it was trouble. He was a rare gem. He became a butt of derision that he relied on the potency of supernatural powers to drive his mission in the schools he worked and to make his inferiors toe his line. But he countered: “There was nothing like supernatural power in whatever I did. You see I have great belief in the potency of the spoken word and I explored that to the maximum. I felt, I still feel, that if a person has well marshaled reasons for an action he will always defeat those who are uncoordinated.”
Ogbomoso Baptist High School marked a turning point in his life. Unionism held an attraction to him and headlong into its activities he thrust himself. He became the pioneer chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Ogbomoso South local government branch in 1992. He rose through the ranks to also emerge the pioneer chairman of the NUT Social Security Scheme (known as Endwell) at the state level. He later was appointed into NUT Elder’s Forum, Oyo State Wing just as he was appointed the representative of ANCOPSS at the NUT level. He was also at a time Oyo state representative at the NUT national level. Therefore, he was always appreciative of the body often affirming that it built him. He would say that it afforded him the opportunity to express his talents which made him to be noticed.
Unionism he opined enabled him to showcase his talents in rhetoric. One of those that knew his worth was the former state secretary of the union, Olu Abiala. Abiala had great trust in the ability of Adetutu that he constantly created avenue for him to express his gifts. During union elections, contestants often became seized by fright if he should support a candidate because he had that ability to sway people with rhetoric, so he was often forbidden from speaking at such times. In fact, he was something of a spell binder; he was impassive in arguments, and in unveiling his thoughts. “I am able to argue dispassionately, I am able to argue in a very strong manner, I am able to make forceful presentation of what I feel about a situation.” His strongest weapon however is truth. He lived by the dictates of the holy book, “Speak (know) the truth and the truth shall set you free.” He never cringed from telling the truth, his strict upbringing certainly instilled the manner of truth in him. This inspired him to be articulate as he had nothing to hide, nothing pricked his conscience when he made his points, he was never nudged by dread of being exposed as a liar. “So that is the weapon, no supernatural power in anything. When I speak, people listen because they see sincerity and commitment. As much as possible I try not to tell lies.”
Williams Shakespeare’s immortal line that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them” holds true for Adetutu. He was not born great, he didn’t have greatness thrust upon him, but rather he achieved greatness by dint of hardwork and utilizing his talents in a productive way. In 1996, he emerged as the president of ANCOPSS at the state level. He became the first Ogbomoso principal to be so honoured. Yet, he was humble about it as he attributed his elevation to the magnanimity of another great educationist of Ogbomoso stock and who succeeded him as president, (now late) Deacon Timothy Bamidele Ajamu. “In term of experience I have garnered a lot but you know if you don’t have people who recognize your worth; people who believe in you; people who believe they can invest in you with the possibility of having bountiful harvest, you are not going to make it,” he noted. One other great achievement he recorded as principal of the school was that many PTA teachers under him were helped without prompting to secure permanent appointment. In fact, one day close to 20 PTA teachers under him received appointment letters!
President of conference of principals
After the creation of Osun state, the need arose to reshuffle the state exco of ANCOPSS. He was revered in the teaching circle due to his abilities and persona. At a meeting in Oyo in 1991, a meeting he did not even attend, Dn. Ajamu nominated him to ascend the seat of state president of ANCOPSS. The nomination sailed however it was the position of vice president he was allowed to assume. For his role he was ever grateful to Dn. Ajamu, because he held that Ajamu could have schemed for himself to occupy the position since he was the only Ogbomoso person at the meeting. So, he described Ajamu as a selfless individual. Then, the time rolled in to appoint a new state exco. Contestants had emerged and he had someone he was rooting for to emerge as president, he never dreamt of it, what of the Ibadan tight grip on every position but yet again the calculation changed and the pendulum swung in his favour. He remembered: “Anyway, we went to Ibadan and some people got up and said, ‘Why can’t you be the president yourself?’ In a twinkling he emerged the state’s ANCOPSS president.
Special Adviser on Education
However, a gold fish has no hiding place as they say and so Alhaji Lamidi Onaolapo Adesina (Great Lam) who was sworn-in as civilian governor of Oyo state on May 29, 1999, without sounding him out, announced him as his Special Adviser on Education. Though their paths crossed when he was a classroom teacher in Iwo and Lam was principal of Baptist High School, Iwo. However, Lam must have followed his progress, and how he transformed into a capable character in the field of education must have fascinated Lam. Thus, he moved a notch higher in his life dream.
One of his most remarkable feats in this capacity was convincing Lam to allow principals to rise to the position of Permanent Secretary. This received seal of approval though this idea was initially misconstrued as self-serving. It was implemented after his retirement in 2001. Principals who were appointed Permanent Secretaries at the time and through the tenures of Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala before being reverted during the tenure of Senator Abiola Ajimobi owe it to him. His imprint is stamped in many other areas towards improving the status of teachers and lots of education in the state. Outside office he contributed to improving the lots of students as he launched a free lesson for students of secondary schools which held weekly at Anglican Grammar School, Ogbomoso. This writer was the coordinator of the programme which was done under the auspices of Liberation Caucus. He was encouraged by those who knew his worth and selflessness to seek the chairmanship position of Ogbomoso North local government in 2002. But he was not cut for the prevailing jungle justice of politics of the time.
After his tenure as Special Adviser on Education, he showed interest in the then Ogbomoso Insight. He became a tower of support, at some point he strove hard to find sponsors for the paper but the usual response of potential financiers was that it was a private business. He indeed assisted the publication in diverse ways. He wrote a column in the paper he codenamed “Polemics,” which he ran incognito. His writings as his spoken words evinced inspiration. His incisive writings which dwelt on diverse topics no doubt improved the ratings of the paper. There are people who still demand those editions that carried his “Polemics.” Few of his topics were Nigeria: An academy of Legado?, Dawn of a new reality, Long live jungle life (his reaction to the 2004 council elections), Before the light dims, Hell: Myth or reality?, Who is God?, Minimum qualifications for leadership, The rogue missile, Deft dialogue for the polity etc. He also penned poems for the paper under the pen name S. Ade. He took time to explain the meaning of his poems in short paragraphs. Some of his topics were: An enigma; Violin of life; Obituary for consummate conundrum; Ode to recycling; Fiesta of fantasy; My kinsman; Soul in anguish etc. His pens drilled with power. He was a great speech writer and speaker.
TESCOM chairman and other accolades
In 2007, when Alao-Akala assumed the position of governor, he found Adetutu worthy for appointment as chairman of TESCOM (Oyo State Teaching Service Commission). Among others the team he led facilitated employments of several teachers; schools recorded incredible achievements and got greater recognitions by the state government which ensured regular release of grants. Also, the government-labour dispute was settled by Adetutu leveraging on his past experiences in labour. Also, many seminars and workshops as well as several in-service trainings were organized for teachers to improve their productivity. It was a glorious moment though the administration was blighted generally by constant faceoff with labour, which had come to be known as being induced by opponents who did not want the face of a non-Ibadan man in the government house. It must be stated that Adetutu was one of the brain behind the establishment of TESCOM in the state.
Adetutu also notched an important feat in 2005. Prince Olalere Ajiboye who became a Permanent Secretary, was in line for the presidency of ANCOPSS at the state level but he was on the verge of being schemed out and so ran to Adetutu and others. Adetutu, Dn. Ajamu (who completed Adetutu’s term as ANCOPSS chairman after he was appointed Special Adviser on Education) and Alhaji Alao, followed Ajiboye to Ibadan thus Ajiboye was able to take his deserved place in history. Adetutu was a game changer; he opened the way for the enthronement of Ogbomoso persons as state’s ANCOPSS president. Another Ogbomoso principal, Elder Oladokun Aremu also assumed the position later finishing his tenure as state’s ANCOPSS president in 2018. To reward Dn. Ajamu then, Adetutu handed over to him as state’s ANCOPSS president when he assumed duty as Special Adviser on Education.
After his chairmanship of TESCOM, it was time to rest, the matchless man of letters slowed down, he had accomplished the purpose for which he was created. This was a man who also served on two occasions as General Secretary of Ogbomoso Parapo Worldwide. He was at home with the elite in the city as with the traditional rulers. In 2008, he was conferred with the award of “Principal Emeritus of Nigeria” by the national ANCOPSS. And he was a chieftaincy title holder of Egbe Akomolede ati Asa Yoruba Naijiria. The association bestowed on him the title of Maye Balogun Ede Yoruba. He bagged many awards too numerous to mention. His cabinet brims with several award plaques today.
Now he belongs the ages
What else can a mortal want? He saw it all, he tasted it all and he achieved all in the path of his career! To think that he attained such enviable heights in the light of many giants that trod the land in his time then he must be truly a genius.
In the twilight of his life he developed prostate cancer, he received the best care but the end had come, and so, at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in the morning of July 4 2019, in the warm arms of his adorable wife, his great heart stopped eternally to beat.
Arguably the greatest teacher Ogbomoso has produced now lies among the ages.